Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Monday, November 20, 2017
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Cisco, Google Join Forces on Hybrid Cloud 

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Cisco Systems and Google announced a hybrid cloud partnership this week designed to securely deliver distributed enterprise applications and services across Google Cloud Platform and on-premise infrastructure.

The partners said the partnership reflects the enterprise shift to multi-cloud deployments as a way of managing cloud migrations and avoiding vendor lock-in—a pitch made competitors of Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT). Announced on Wednesday (Oct. 25), the deal "facilitates and an easy and incremental approach to tapping into the benefits of the cloud," Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud, noted in a statement. "This is what we hear customers ask for."

The cloud initiative combines Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) de facto standard Kubernetes cluster orchestration platform for managing applications and services across hybrid infrastructure with Cisco's (NASDAQ: CSCO) networking and security expertise. It also leverages Cisco's push into hyper-converged infrastructure. Along with extending security to application containers and other micro-services, the deal would allow users to monitor application behavior running on hybrid platforms, the partners said.

The other pillar of the collaboration is Istio, another open source tool released earlier this year to help manage micro-services via what developers call a "service mesh network." Working with Kubernetes, Istio aims to provide a uniform means of connecting and managing micro-services.

"Customers will be able to accelerate on-premises app modernization using a Kubernetes-based container strategy that’s consistent with cloud-native technology," Google Cloud's Nan Boden asserted in a blog post announcing the partnership. Hence, Kubernetes would operate similarly on Cisco private cloud infrastructure as well as Google Container Engine, the company's managed Kubernetes service.

The deal also leverages Cisco's HyperFlex platform that includes management tools to enforce security and other policies as applications and services are released with greater frequency.

Source: Cisco Systems

As Google focuses on application delivery, Cisco is concentrating on easing application development and distribution. "We have seen a natural distribution of existing applications, some that belong on-premises, and some that belong in public cloud," explained Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's Cloud Platform and Solutions Group. The challenge, Compton added in a blog post, "is in getting those applications to all work together. In essence, allowing applications to extend across environments where they can take advantage of applications and services residing in other datacenters and clouds."

The hybrid initiative is further designed to allow users to leverage Cisco's private cloud to deploy and manage container clusters orchestrated by Kubernetes. Those applications also could be configured to run on Google public cloud services. The hybrid approach would allow developers to authenticate services as they go from on-premise infrastructure to the Google cloud.

The partners said hardware and software components along with cloud services could be mixed and matched. Cisco software will be licensed on a subscription basis while hardware would be sold. Google cloud services will be offered on a consumption basis.

Cisco and Goolgle said the hybrid cloud platform would be available to several customers during the first part of 2018, with planned general availability later next year.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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